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OPINION: Guyana 2020: Can we all get along?

By Paul Sanders

Guyana 2020: Can we all get along?

Two people. Two narratives. Same agenda.

So you’d think they should be okay, right? Wrong.

These people are long time adversaries. And, again, as usual, they are at cross purposes.

This rendezvous is a festival of Indo and Afro Guyanese refining and mastering the art of bawling in high intensive racial tones. This culture war is about the display of the loudest, angriest, hot-tempered, intolerant patriotism powered by emboldened racist hatred that wants to tout itself as “democracy” and “constitution.”

Let’s face it. Democracy has suddenly become a mantra. Most of the political viewpoints from the East Indians seem to translate to arithmetic. Majority in numbers.

Well, that’s a good point. But it’s not working. For all these years after independence that kind of ideological thinking has proven to be a myth, a delusion.

Racial majoritarian rule has accomplished nothing meaningful for Guyana. Guyanese are where they are today because a quasi apartheid system of discrimination based on racial preferences has always been the fascination of the old politics. It has brought zero prosperity and plenty of conflicts.

Yet, the staunch PPP supporters lean inflexibly to that argument like it’s a lifeline to power. So what’s up with all those memes, the ugly name calling, the rancid, hardcore, gutteryard monologues? There is no countenance for such vocabulary even as it simply expresses the rage, deep anger and frustration at how the conniving GECOM is aiding an election fraud in broad daylight. And like the Coronavirus flu, there seems to no shortage of dirty, deceptive games that have evolved from both the APNU-AFC and GECOM.

Understandably, East Indians are pissed; they are freaking out and getting loud. But sadly, this kind of paranoia is not working. Their numbers are not adding up. Meanwhile the APNU-AFC has dug in, fearful of another round of Indian triumphalism—meaning PPP rule reminiscent of 23 years of madness, and with Bharrat Jagdeo making a comeback as the supreme de facto leader; developing their own misuse of language; defiant of international observers and world opinion, and the threat of sanctions. No bluff there. But it appears as if the APNU-AFC is seriously contemplating on holding on to power.

This is a Freudian nightmare. It’s a déjà vu of the worse kind. Nobody has ever won.

For the dilentante racists who have jumped on the bandwagon of either parties, there is a lot of space for illiteracy, rhetoric, and belligerent intellectual distortion of history to advance racist causes. It is the perfect incubation for violent romanticist ideas.

So what makes this conversation so unintelligible? There’s something quite visceral playing out among Indo and Afro Guyanese; a kind of weird atavism that has kept them prisoners in their racial camps. There is an abundance of demagogic leaders in both the PPP and the PNC to exploit the vulnerabilities of the ordinary Guyanese. It’s playing out like a summer blockbuster.

So here we are, for the umpteenth time, repeating ourselves, yelling slurs at each other hoping to get a different result.

A different hypothesis, as generated by seasoned activists Moses Bhagwan and Eusi Kwayana, has been presented for thought. But no one is interested. Indo and Afro Guyanese are so deeply sucked into this vortex of racism that they have lost their moorings.

Which way forward? Not the way the PPP and the APNU-AFC have been arguing. No one race can live at the expense of the other and call it democracy.

But who cares? Nobody is listening anyway.

Paul Sanders is a former writer for Caribbean Daylight, NY. He currently writes mostly on American issues.